STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — After at least four days of training camp in the Texas heat, the Faith Academy of Marble Falls football squad took a break Aug. 7 for team-building activities.
New Flames head coach Jeremy Wentrcek said he likes what he’s seeing on the field.
“I felt like they were probably ahead of where I expected them to be,” he said. “We’re in the process of learning.”
The Flames are expecting to have 19 players on its six-man team with underclassmen making up half of the roster. That’s notable because the younger athletes played on a junior high team that enjoyed much success as a six-man program. Plus, they come into the six-man high school program already knowing much of the basics.
The upperclassmen are adjusting to the six-man game. Last fall, Faith announced it was moving from the 11-man game to the six-man version.
The most important lesson so far? Angles and traps, according to Wentrcek, and the players understanding that one missed tackle can result in a big play for the other team.
But the coach remains encouraged by what he is seeing: his players learning from their mistakes.
“I’m seeing them make a mistake and turning it into something good,” he said.
And no matter if the athlete played six-man or 11-man, football remains football, regardless of the number of players on the field.
“We’ll learn this and be the best six-man team we can,” Wentrcek said. “We are trying to simplify, especially our play-calling terminology. It makes it very athlete-friendly.”
He appreciates the leadership from the upperclassmen.
Wentrcek’s offense involves two crucial backfield roles: one player who lines up in the quarterback position and another as the spread back. They’re on the field at the same time and serve similar roles, but they carry them out in different manners. Under Wentrcek’s plan, the athlete in quarterback position is “a kid who can throw well and has a good awareness of what’s happening on defense.”
The spread back is a multi-threat athlete who can extend plays with his legs and arms and puts his teammates in position to make plays.
To understand the different role each plays, a quick explanation of six-man football is necessary. Under six-man rules, the center snaps the ball to the quarterback, who can only pass — he can’t run with it.
The quarterback can, however, pitch it to the spread back in Wentrcek’s scheme. The spread back can now either pass the ball or run with it.
The spread back is what might be described as a “dual-threat” athlete.
“That’s a playmaker,” the coach said.
But, Wentrcek, emphasized, “He can’t do it without the other four or five guys.”
He also touted another crucial element of the offense: the center. He’s important because of the different options on each offensive play. Much of what Wentrcek wants to do involves being quick with the football, whether that’s a handoff, a toss, or a pass. In addition, because every offensive player is an eligible receiver, the center has the added duty of blocking and catching the ball.
Without a clean snap, the timing is off, and that gives the defense extra seconds to cause havoc in the backfield.
Faith will have speed in virtually every offensive position because the possibilities of missed tackles are greater.
“The offense is built in vertical or horizontal stretches,” Wentrcek said.
The Flames scrimmage Giddings State School at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, at Haley-Nelson Park, 1624 Buchanan Drive in Burnet.